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    August 31, 2013
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fox alert. president obama announcing plans to move forward now with a military strike in syria. his speech punctuating a week of case-making from the administration. the president now calling for the congressional approval to retaliate against the assad regime for use of chemical weapons. welcome to news headquarters. >> i'm heather childers. a short time ago the president saying that for diplomacy, the time for diplomacy is over. he will now seek authorization from congress to pursue military action. listen. >> after careful deliberation i
have decided that the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. to not be an open didn't ended intervention. we would not put boots on the ground. instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. i'm confident we can hold the assad regime responsible for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior and degrade their capacity to carry it out. >> congressional correspondent mike emmanuel live from wall. mike? >> reporter: heather, after a lot of grumbling about lacking details and conference calls, not enough consultation, my colleagues report last night on walk with his chief of staff, president obama decided alone it was better to go to congress, and this afternoon the commander in chief announced he wants congress to weigh in on military action in syria. >> that's why i made a second
decision. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress. for the last several days we've heard from members of congress who want their voices to be heard. i absolutely agree. this morning i spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as congress comes back into session. >> immediate reaction from the house republican leadership team is, they are glad the president is seeking authorization, and in a statement said, "in consultation with the president, we expect the house to consider a measure the week of september 9th. this provides the president time to make his case to congress, and the american people." so that's still about ten days out before congress will actually come back and debate this critical issue. heather? >> mike, since the president spoke, a lot of comments coming in, streaming in from our
lawmakers. what are you hearing? >> an event in florida, ted cruz said, the president should's listen to congress. >> that's the way it's supposed to work. the constitution gives congress the power to declare war. and i am very, very glad that the president listened to bipartisan calls to come before congress and come before the american people and make the case, not base and international norm. >> but a leading house republican new york's peter king blasted the move saying, "president obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander in chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. the president does not need congress to authorize a strike
on syria." he believes the line was crossed weeks ago and needed to respond. lindy graham said a few minutes ago they cannot in good conscience support a strike not parton of an overallstrategy that can change the battlefield. >> in the meantime, the assad state-controlled media is declaring nothing but victory is aing the united states will never strike. leland vittert has the late effort. what's the reaction been to obama's speech? >> reporter: stunned would probably be putting it lightly, greg. there is a feeling president assad, the syrians, for that matter, the iranians were eye-to-eye with president obama and the president is the one who blinked. syrian state tv declared victory. they had people partying in the streets of damascus. one woman said, well, if you
want people who are afraid, go to israel. that's where they're lining up for gas masks. shortly later, the deputy prime minister of syria went on a pan-arab network and said, "the americans have lost the battle before it even started." he then continued saying that the american administration had made "a joke of itself." remember, that the syrians for the past couple of days have been talking about massive retaliations. tel aviv would burn if attacked and they view the united states backing down here as a major change in policy. obviously, this is a region that has been for the past week or so on the brink of war. the iranians have promised to counterattack in the event of the u.s. attack. the israelis for their part are taking stock. they had forward deloyed their missile systems. those kinds of systems and, remember, greg, that the red line comment that president obama had used about syria, also used about iran, something that the israelis view as the
significant threat to their national security, now they're wondering what happened with that? >> there seems to be two factions in israel. you know this better than i do. some who were fearing retaliation. others who wanted the u.s. to stand up to syria. so is it hard to sort of filter that out? what does this mean to the israeli people? >> reporter: i think the key thing to view it here, not only to the israeli people but what it means regionally. you have to do what you say you're going to do. you don't have the to say anything. but if you say it in the middle east, you have to back it up. i want to quote one israeli analyst here who says i think obama has no desire to act. another said to the countries in the middle east, he's incapable of taking action. that is a very scary thing. one analyst i talked to said, you know, if he wants to be taken seriously on the issue of
iran, he wants to be taken seriously on syria or the middle east, or anything, asking congress to act in terms of syria, go ahead and get their approval for iran as well. he was only half joking. >> the israelis are courageous people. i mean, they are under the gun, literally, and so many other things, all the time. and so they were what? out getting the gas masks? right jt they were preparing for what could be retaliation. talk to us about that. >> reporter: it seemed very clearly that the taking this threat very seriously. careful not to induce panic but forward deployed their iron dome missile defense system. not cheap to do's moved arrow defense systems ton stand by. launched out of the southern part of the country and placed it around tel aviv. clearly they had intelligence about this. also, syrian missiles on the move. the syrians moved some of their
missiles out into fighting position, and the gas mask threat was a new one. every israeli is entitled to gas mask, a lot of people dp have them, didn't have fresh canisters. the last time israel was under threat was during the iraq war or the persian gulf war in the 1990s when saddam hussein launched scud missiles. this put a fear into israel. more than three years i've heard a lot of phases he s a differe feeling on the ground that thing koss get awfully dicey awfully quick. the israelis were careful to say if we are struck, we will retaliate fiercely. everyone believed that, but certainly believed the possibility of assad launching a hezbollah or iran noor matter, a real possibility. >> incredibly courageous people.
leland vittert in jerusalem. thanks very much. possibility of a u.s. strike, protesters around the world. washington, d.c., france, london. some of the places people are taking to the street to the voi voice their opinion of no military action. hundreds taking part in these rallies. as we've mentioned, president obama has said any possible attacks would be limited and aim at punishing syrian president assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons. and it can be traced back to february, 2011. 15 teenagers inspiring writing anti-graffiti on the walls. arrested and thrown in prison. about month later, syrian troops
fired into a group. several people killed in august of 2012. one year ago president obama said the syrian regime's use of chemical weapons would be a red line. and just this past june, the obama administration announced it would send small arms and ammunitions to syrian rebels. sort of the response to the red line. u.n. inspectors leaving damascus after collecting samples from chemical weapons attacks. how long they are saying they -- before they'll have results is unclear, plus we're going have a live report on today's briefing on the situation from the u.n. headquarters in new york. >> before the mission can draw any conclusions on this, the laboratory process must be completed and secretary-general has requested for the oratory phase expedited as much as feasible. he sewells. we're new to town. welcome to monroe.
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the u.n. slamming the idea that the departure of its chemical weapons team from syria paved the way for a u.s. attack. earlier today those inspectors arrived in the netherlands after finishing their investigation of alleged chemical weapons attack on the syrian people. live in our new york city newsroom we have more. >> reporter: hi, heather. the united nations still has not determined whether or not chemical weapons were used in attacking syria august 21st adding they have no time wlooin they will issue a final report on their investigation but are working as swiftly as possible. >> the name of the game here, the mandate, is very clear, and that is to ascertain whether chemical weapons were used and not by whom. and that remained the mandate. >> president barack obama today saying he is confident in the u.s. inthat he will proves the syrian government carried out
the chemical attacks killing more than 1,400 people. >> i'm comfortable going forward without the approval of a united nations security council that so far has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold assad accountable. >> reporter: meanwhile, they left syria this morning after collecting soil, blood and urine samples and interviewing victims that were allegedly in the chemical attack. the evidence set to be analyzed in several laboratories around europe. the u.s. also saying any suggestion that the departure of u.n. inspectors in syrias clears the way for a military strike is offensive. >> frankly, that's grotesque, and it's also an affront to the more than 1,000 staff, u.n. staff, who are on the ground in syria delivering humanitarian aid and who will continue to deliver critical aid. >> reporter: u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon
will swhar the u.n. states with the security council. and u.s. forces are ready to strike syria. after the ra seem attacked its own people with chemical weapons, but the call for action, meeting strong reap zichbs overseas. casey mcfarland here in a moment to talk about it. the world with many dangers this menace must be confronted. after careful deliberation, i have decided that the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. to not be an open-ended intervention. we would not put boots on the ground. instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. [ male announcer ] what's important to you? at humana, our medicare agents sit down wh you and ask. being active. and being with this guy. [ male announcer ] getting to know you is how we help you choose the humana medicare plan
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we're getting back to syria in a moment. first, some of the other stories making headlines. reports that the leaders of the muslim brotherhood suffered a heart attack in prison. egyptian state tv saying mohammed ba heeney was arrested in the region crackdown and the military government, in stable condition. the mayor of san diego officially resigning. bowl filner stepping down following accusations he sexually harassed dozens of women. smoke from a nearby wildfire plank blank itting the area in and oirnd yosemite national park. forecasters saying the dense smoke could stick around until at least monday. and now back to the crisis unfolding in syria. the president saying the u.s. is ready to act and he is now turning to congress to okay a
strike. this amid pushback from some in the international community including russian president vladimir putin, now challenging the u.s. to back up its claims that the syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people. listen. >> translator: as for the position of our american dleegs and friends who insist the syrian government forces used weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons in this case and say they have evidence, let them present it to the u.n. inspector an the security council. they may have such evidence, but in secret, it's beyond criticism and disrespect follow to the partners in the international activities. the evidence should be presented. if not, then there is no evidence. >> a fox news national security analyst is with us and former secretary of defense during the reagan administration. thank you for joining us. >> thanks, heather. >> so russia's response, not really a surprise to us, but president obama, he has indicated that he will not wait for either approval from the u.n. security council or the
conclusion of the u.n. inspectors investigation into the syrian attack. so what are the implications for the united states should we move forward with an attack from the international community? >> well, first of all yoshs think we're going to move forward with an attack. i think by saying, president obama saying i'm going to turn it over to congress. i want to go but i'll wait to see what congress says, congress isn't even going to consider this until right before september 11th. they'll have other things. my guess is it will go the way of closing guantanamo. lots of noise, talk, lots of moral high ground but it won't happen. heather, you're right to point out the international implications of this, because putin, russia, certainly syria look at this saying, wait. president obama was saying red lines. assad has got to go. there's going to be punishment. we want to deter him. the secretary very eloquently spoke yesterday saying that this
cannot go unanswered. the world has to stand up, and now we're going to do nothing. i think the world looks at president obama and says, at minimum, amateur hour. >> and an entirely different speech that we heard today from president obama in terms of his being behind it and what we heard from kerry friday. a statement that came out from senator johnny isakson who issued a statement following president obama's words saying, "if we fail to take strong action against syria for this horrendous attack then we are sending a signal to syria as well as to iran and north korea that they are accountable to no one." so is our delay an effective green light for iran, north korea, syria, to basically do what they want? >> yeah. i think absolutely. now, i happen to think that president obama made a huge mistake when he said two years ago, assad's got to go and a year ago saying there's a red line. any parent knows, heather, when you start laying down threats,
if you're knot prepanot prepare out the threats, your bluff is called every time. that's what assad has done. called obama the bluff. they said, you're talking about dire consequences. so let's see them. and president obama's now backing off from that. despite the rhetoric. but, you know, in this case, it's watch my deeds, not my words. >> so then you have to question why is he not willing to act? the decision to seek congressional approval, it's a departure from the administration's decision to intervene in libya in 2011. no approval sought then. so why the change in tactic this time around? >> i think, heather, they watched what happened in london, at parliament this week, and their jaws dropped. they thought that the prime minister, prime minister cameron was going to follow in lock step. the bittish public, of both political parties said, nope. we don't want to have a repeat of tony blair and george bush and iraq. we are not going to do this this
time and it was a resounding defeat. not just for the prime minister of great britain, but for the president of the united states. he thought he had that one sewn up. now it looks instead of like he's leading a coalition, the world is with him. it now looks like obama, if he were to act, would have to act completely isolated and completely alone. >> okay. so throwing it to congressional approval, look at a couple of these polls. it is clear that, you know, at this point, poll after poll shows that more than half of americans oppose intervention altogether. in terms of seeking congressional approval. 79% say that's required. so is thas political move on behalf of president obama and his administration? >> yeah. i think he's gotten us out. he's gotten out on that limb saying military action and then finds out he's there by himself. the british aren't with him. the american public isn't with him. the united states military has put lots of warnings out there saying military action against syria would have a lot of
shortcomings and by no means be a cakewalk or a sure thing. i think the president was looking for his out and he found one, which is to say, i'm going to toss this to congress. >> all right. we'll see what happens. speaker boehner saying that he will call for a vote on the measure september 9th, if they're not called before then. thank you so much. casey mcfarland. >> thank you, heather. if he coward his way out of it, that's what critics are saying. president obama formally announcing a planned strike in syria, but the pentagon has apparently been ready to move forward with military action for quite some time. so we're going to take a look at what held things up. where the u.s. goes from here. >> we are the united states of america. we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in damascus. on the ashes of the world war we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it means, and we did so because we believed that the rights of
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welcome back pap fox news alert. the president will consult with congress before attacking syria. live at the pentagon for us, jennifer, it seems that the pentagon was ready to move forward with a strike earlier this week. so what held it back? >> well, heather, since early last week defense secretary chuck hagel said the pentagon, more importantly the u.s. navy, was ready. there were four u.s. navy destroyers in position armed with tomahawk mitchessiles at t beginning of last week. a fifth moved into position late last week. "the uss stealth" moved in. trod release the "uss mahan."
will they keep destroyers at the ready now that no action will occur before congress returns september 9th? as the president stepped back from the brink it is clear he leaned on advice of his chairman of chiefs general martin dempsey. >> our military has positioned assets in the region. the chairman of the joint chiefs informed me we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. moreover, the chairman indicated our capacity to execute this submission not time sensitive. it wonill be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now and i'm prepared to give that order. >> now that the assad regime has ten additional days to make preparations to move armaments around, to move certain things from their military bases that gives them a little bit of a leg up, but according to defense officials i've spoken to today in the wake of the president's speech, that delay is manageable
from a targeting point of view and the syrian regime, they say, should not believe that they have escaped in terms of the delays that has been announced. >> and, jennifer what is the pentagon's reaction beyond that to the president's comments today? >> well, i think there's been a lot of head scratching around here at the pentagon. those who listened to secretary kerry's speech yesterday felt that action or an order was eminent, and that the action would be taken. again, those navy ships have been in position. the pentagon has not been leaning forward in terms of the use of military action in sear yao. they said they've been able to do so. tactically could do so. had the tomahawks in position, but strategically what difference would it make. all of my contacts in the pentagon to include those in the joint chiefs of staff were breathe as huge sigh of relief, and they're still a bit incritch
credulous position. >> i think what's also interesting is that the delay will complicate the targeting mission of the u.s. navy, but as u.s. officials have spoken to this afternoon say, it will n not -- it will not deter them and it certainly, while it complicates them it is a manageable, a manageable task. >> manageable delay. you mentioned you touched on it. it seems the president is taking the advice of the chairman of the joint chiefs, secretary of state john kerry? >> now, remember, the chairman of joint chiefs, chairman dempsedemps -- dempsey giving the risks to the president. regime change, paint add bleak picture in terms of the ability
of the u.s. to get inof voed in a civil war and how many billions of dollars and how many troops it could pake to do so. but what is important is that it seems as though what is surprising to people here at the pentagon is that yesterday it sounded like the mission was go if you listened to secretary kerry. >> it matters deeply for the credibility amend future interests for the united states of america and our allies. it matters, because a lot of other countries whose policy is challenged by these international norms are watching. they're watching. they want to see whether the united states and our friends mean what we say. >> there's a degree of relief here at the pentagon that if congress does give approval for a strike, it is better to act with the nation and with congress behind this kind of a military action. >> yeah. a degree of relief. also a degree of confusion,
because you're right. definitely a different feeling from yesterday and today. particularly today. thank you so much. >> thank you. well, the reaction is pours in on the president's decision to seek congressional authorization before moving forward with a strike against syria. speaking today at the rose garden, the president said the congressional vote will essentially give the american people a voice in an ongoing crisis that has far-reaching imp m placation. >> having made my decision as commander in chief based and what what i sbleev our national security interests. i'm also mindful i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional and believe our power is rooted not just in our military might but in our example as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. well, joining me now, jamie weinstein. the last time i checked, we
constituted this democracy not to vote on military action. right? >> right. i just think this is entirely bizarre. i personally am a little skeptical about military sflengs syria. if you believe this is necessary to enforce international norms why didn't the president seek authorization from congress before he set out his red line? why didn't he seek authorization after the first chemical attack? why didn't he seek authorization ten days ago? call congress back into session? wipe didn't he wall session back into session today. seems to me he's punting the ball down the road because he doesn't want to actually -- >> i said a decision to use military force, but then made a second decision, he said to consult with congress. i mean, look. his critics, jamie, are going to say the guy weaseled out of making a hard decision. because he knows that congress will say, no. and so what message does that
send to others in the world about america's determination to be firm? especially people in either hezbollahs of the world. al qaeda. not to the mention iran. >> it shows tremendous weakness. look, back in 2002, president bush in october 20092 sought and got authorization to use the u.s. military to enforce our national security interests in iraq. he didn't use that until six months -- five months later in o 203. his authority on the world stage through active american interests. president obama set 0 ut a red line saying, if you do this we will do that and now is saying, we didn't actually have the power to do that. if i did i still now think congress should do it. he should have set authorization before putting outed red line. >> there is a sentiment he made
a foolish decision -- aides say he was shocked and stunned that the president stood up there and said, oh, it's a red line. it's a line in the sand. was that a foolish dings, that now he is trying to reezals with way out? is that what critics where you are in washington will accuse him of? >> i think so. there's no question that if you set a red line you should at least have in enforcement. now looks like he's punting. look all the rhetoric that came out of the white house last week. seemed it was eminent. all of the sudden he thought he had to go to congress. he didn't think he'd have to go -- a much more expansive operation than seeking in syria. all of a sudden now he wants to uphold the constitution after, before he delayed obamacare. unilateral condition, and now decided that congressional
operation is necessary. >> what happened in the last 24 hours? i mean, i was in the anchor chair yesterday when john kerry was making this forceful argument for military action, and now all of the sudden the president is saying, ah, not going to do it. what happened in 24 hours? that that's the story we all want to read in a long ed neat is going to come out i'm shump at some point. the amazing part of it he's not even calling session back before they come back september 9th's he didn't make a bold statement that congress should come back and debate is this to get a yes or no. then he went off to golf with joe biden. seem likes an astonishing display of nonchalance on an issue of war and peace. it really is, charles krauthammer said earlier. >> of course, an entire book entitled "the amateur" at the
president. look, green light for iran. i mean, who are allies in the region. now has to be seriously concerned about american conviction. >> i think they absolutely have to be concerned. there was reports that saudi arabia was going to russia to seek interests. they're moving away from the american orbit. they can't trust america. to act when they say something is necessary. i do think they see an american weakness. >> remember, hillary clinton wondered during the 2008 campaign whether president obama can hand al 3:00 a.m. now 0 a question whether he can handle a 3:00 p.m. call. this was not something that came up on him in the middle of nipt he knew about this red line since the issue back in august and hasn't sought authorization since then. august of 2012. hasn't sought to get authorization since then. seems he's wings this foreign policy thing that he's handling. >> last time i played golf they had phonens 0 the golf course.
on every hole. a little cell phone. and the president apparently turns his off. all right. jamie weinstein, thanks very much. good to see you. coming up, president obama saying that the u.s. military is on standby, ready to attack syria. what is the best way of going about this? we will go osiesh over that wit military options, up next. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
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back to our top story, president obama saying that the united states should take military action against the syrian regime adding any attack would be limited and not involve boots on the ground. so what military options do we have? chuck snashnash is a retired na captain and analyst and joins us with more. thank you for joining us. >> a pleasure, heather. >> i want to first ask you about this delay. it days already since this chemical weapons attack occurred, which was august 21st, i believe. now we have another delay. we have the speaker of the house, boehner, saying he will call for a vote on the mesh are the week of september 9th. the president saying he will wait for congressional approval. so how does syria benefit from this delay and what do you think is happening right there right now? >> well, i think what they're going to do is immediately pick
back up and start the conflict all over again. where they were maybe a little hunkered down, this is going to take the leash off them. by virtue of the fact that the president said that he's been informed by general dempsey he can go tomorrow or next week, that these are not -- this is not time-sensitive, indicates that what we're targeting are fixed targets. i.e., not time sensitive, not going anywhere. meaning they're fixed targets. >> i want to ask you a little more about that. moving forward what is the best option in terms of a military strike? what do we need to do? and are limited strikes enough? >> let's start with the first part. and that is, limited strikes, and what do you go after? what they need, i believe what they need to go after are the defenses of the syrian state, and the reason is, it's because
when we finish this pinpick, i think what they're likely to do is escalate, and if they do, we had better have already taken down a lot of their defense infrastructure. meaning, a lot of their surface-to-air missile sites, radar, command control and air-to-air assets. if we don't do that first, and we just go in and hit them, we'll be right back in the situation that we are now, which is, we're reacting to something they've done. if we just give them a -- a limited strike, and then step back, we're going to step back and wait for them to do something and we're going to react again. so if we're going -- if we're never going to take control of the situation, we're always going to be pulling back, wa waiting for them, they is the initiative, we've never seized it and better take down the defenses fir, because we're sure going to wish we did that. >> what about the threats that syria is making in terms of attacks against israel? do you believe that that is a
very real possibility? and what i hear you say, it's possible, if we're not prepared, and able to do what you just said, that these pinpricks will turn into this large, gaping wound? >> absolutely. because the thing is, if we don't have a plan for the end state. not we can foresee the end state, but at least a plan, a desired outcome, then we're just swinging in the dark. and this whole concept of, well, we're going to punish them, that's not our job. our job is -- is to defend the united states of america against all enemies foreign and domestic. that's the overall guidance. so punishing a foreign leader for something that he's done, where everybody else is sitting on the sidelines and you've got the french, maybe. it doesn't really stack up. now, back to this question about israel. and greg jarrett was asking, what happened in the last 24
hours? yeah. what did happen in the last 24 hours? was it really clear that maybe we found out they going to strike israel if we struck them? and if so, maybe what we had been planning was totally inadequate for the situation. so this -- this delay mechanism, there are -- there has to be a lot more going on than we're seeing right now. we're seeing the duck on the surface. there are a lot of feet moving around down there. >> perhaps more of that information will come out in the hours ahead. thank you so much captain nash. appreciate it as always. and president obama declaring he wants the military action against syria to be dictated by congress. can the u.s. really afford to get involved in another overseas conflict? coming up, we'll tail tally up the possible bill and see how the government plans to pay for it all. [ female announcer ] a classic macaroni & cheese from stouffer's
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>> fox news alert, more on the unfolding crisis in syria. president obama is backing away from what had loomed as an imminent military strike on a regime saying he will first seek congressional approval. professor of law and political science at usc joins us now. susan, in 24 hours we have heard "i have made a decision" and now" i have made a second decision. i am going to go to congress" and he knows congress will say no. what's your reaction to this? >> well, maybe something you and i have no idea happened in the last 24 hours. maybe it is your last guess suggested, there was a new piece of intelligence or information.
i think for want of that explanation what is clear is that democracy sort of happened. the president very clearly marks a line in the sand, but he doesn't have the country behind him. the fundamental rule of democracy is a president doesn't need congress behind him, but he needs the country behind him. he didn't have the country behind him. this morning he acknowledged that. you don't see congress rushing back there and they are sleeping well in syria jie. is this a president -- >> is this a president who made a mistake a year ago when he drew the line in the sand and had no intention of backing it up? and what does that say to our adversaries out there, especially iran? >> he did have an intention of backing it up. my son said what is it? i said it is something about
chemical weapons. i do believe chemical weapons are different. i believe the administration was struggling to articulate and communicate what i believe is an important principal of the basic idea of living in a civilized society. there have to be some rules even if it is not going to accomplish regime change and even if the rebels are bad guys too. i think what became clear was the country wasn't behind him. >> why are chemical weapons different? look, they are atrocious, heinous and cruel, but so are bombs. 100,000 people have died and been murdered by bombs and air riel re-- artillery in syria for the last few years. the president did nothing. when a thousand people die of a different mechanism, that's all of a sudden cause for a military strike. isn't that
incon grew us with? >> you can do the holocaust meter. are chemical weapons by their very nature different no matter how many people they kill, or are they only different if they kill a huge number of people? i suppose you and i if we were in the original position could find a lot of places to say here is what is worse than whatever. for a civilized world, the chemical weapons have long struck most of us or many of us, certainly the president until now. it is crossing a fundamental line. if you think the line should be drawn in a different place, draw it in a different place. one of the troubling things right now and i don't have an answer is people are asking is there any line at all?
is it the lesson there is no line unless it is national real politics and they don't attack. >> susan, thank you so much. >> nice to see you. >> good to see you. and we low-income back -- and we will be back with morement don't go away.
a fox news alert for you. president obama announcing that he will seek congressional approval before moving forward with a military strike in syria. his speech wrapping up a week of case making from the administration. the president's remarks are coming shortly after u.n inspectors left syria carrying evidence that will determine whether chemical weapons were in fact used in the on going conflict. hello, everyone. i'm heather childers and welcome to america's news headquarters. >> the president is speaking from the rose garden today saying the time for diplomacy is over. ed henry is live from the white house right now.
ed, as i understand you have new details about just how the president came to his decision last night? >> that's right, greg. a pretty dramatic decision. he made two big decisions on friday and we were told he did want to move forward with the u.s. military force to deal with syria and the chemical weapons attack. then later on friday night after 6:00 p.m. eastern time he took a walk on the south lawn with the chief of staff and first floated the idea to the chief of staff that he thought it would be smart to go to congress and seek votes in the house and the senate. also the authorization of the use of force. something he wanted to consult with and not get authorization. this is a risky move and congress you know is on an august recess. they don't come back until september 9th. you have john kerry who came out yesterday, very strong and
suggests that action needs to be taken and taken quickly. the president insisted that general martin dempsey is said it didn't matter if he acted today or next week or in a month that the military is at the ready when he says go. the president said in the rose garden he thinks it is better to have congressional buy in. take a listen. >> yet while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, i know the country will be strong if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. >> the bottom line as white house officials acknowledge in private that there was concern and some division within the administration when the president came in late last night and informed his staff and the war cabinet at the defense department that he completely reversed course on his own. they insist at a national security council meeting this morning the entire team came together around the idea that
this is a smart move they believe because polls are obviously showing the public is not interested in more u.s. intervention in syria right now and it would be better to get this debated out, the pluses and minuses on capitol hill. >> he has a load of critics. some people are saying this is the equivalent of a guy hiding behind his mom's skirt. what is congress saying and what is the timetable for this? >> they would say, look, the timetable is the next week they can beacon resulting with lawmakers and giving them more intelligence and building a case for action that could make this stronger. the president is not hiding behind anybody's skirt because he is saying he wants to take military action, but he wants to slow the timetable down. as you suggest the reaction on the hill is noncommittal. look at this statement from mitch mcconnell. he basically says that he is not fully there yet. he said, quote, the president
advised me he will have a use of force with congress prior to any combat operations in response to the use of chemical weapons. the president's role has strengthened when he enjoys the express support of the congress. note mcconnell says when he enjoys the support of congress. he doesn't have he has the support. mcconnell is seeing where this will turn out. as we saw in the british parliament this could go down -- the votes could go down and they may not get this authorization in private. administration officials say they believe the president has the power to move forward anyway. he would rather have the buy in, but they are leaving the door wide open that he may act a few weeks down the road. >> there are skeptics about that. ed henry at the white house, ed, thanks so much. >> as congress prepares to vote on whether or not to take military action in syria, we are waiting to see if the samples collected in that
country by a group of u.n weapons inspectors turn out to show any trace of poisonous chemicals. this as we learned the assad regime state controlled media is declaring victory and saying the u.s. will not strike. leyland -- leland has the latest there. what is the reaction? >> stunned, heather. there is a real feeling that syria for that matter, iran, were eye to eye with the united states and president obama blinked first. he has a lot of people in the region wondering how good the word of the united states is. the syrian deputy prime minister went on air 20 or 30 minutes after his speech. he said, quote, the americans have lost the battle even before it started. he continued the american administration has made a joke out of itself. one woman in
the streets was interviewed and she said we are not afraid here. if you want people who are afraid go to israel. that's where they are lining up for gas masks and seeking shelter. that was the case in israel. this is a country feeling it was on the verge of a regional war and it was walked back from the brink here. heather, it doesn't make people feel confident. president obama laid down a red line about syria's use of chemical weapons. in affect he laid down a red line about iran achieving nuclear weapons. now there are people in israel saying, wait a second. if he is not willing to use military force in syria and he needs the consent of the congress there, what does it mean about his proms vis-a-vis iran and everywhere else in the region. >> in terms of the israeli people, the risks are great, leland. >> absolutely. it is a matter of confidence. he says it doesn't seem
president obama has the stomach to take action here in the middle east. the countries here are watching that closely of the remember israel had formerly deployed the iron dome missal defense battery. it had done a lock to get ready when president assad of syria said tel aviv would, quote, burn if and when he was attacked. now that we walked back from that the question is where does this go from here in terms of the u.s. credibility in the middle east. one analyst joked to me and he said if president obama needs authorization from congress to do anything and he wants to be taken seriously, maybe when he takes up the issue of syria he should ask about an authorization on iran. if you listen to him talk though you realize he was half joking. in the middle east actions speak louder than words and the president is not backing up the words. back to you. >> leland, thank you for
joining us. and more context now on the chemical weapons threat in syria. syria is one of seven countries worldwide that have not joined the 1997 convention banning chemical weapons. many think their stockpile is the largest in the world estimated at upwards of 1,000 tons. damascus has a mustard blister agent and serin nerve agent and there is evidence that syria used it against the opposition forces. the gas is smore deadly than cyanide. a tiny drop can kill a person. russian president vaw lad vladimir putin is sounding off for the first time since us expected chemical weapons attack. he is challenging the u.s. to present more evidence that the syrian government was involved. >> as for the position of our
american colleagues and friends who insist the syrian government uses chemical weapons and say they have evidence, let them present it to the u.n inspectors and the security council. saying they have evidence, but it is secret is disrespectful to the partners and participants in interest nailing activities. the evidence should be presented. if the evidence is is not presented, there is no evidence. >> a team is testing samples collected in syria for in i trace of chemical weapons. they are expected in about three weeks. we are getting new reaction on the president receiving congressional approval before launching a strike in syria. u.s. warships live in the mediterranean and the pentagon says they have been ready to move forward for quite awhile. jennifer griffen is live from the pentagon. jennifer, the navy has five
destroyers in the immediate mediterranean? >> five destroyers and other naval assets at the ready. the defense secretary said the pentagon and the u.s. navy was ready. there were four destroyers that were armed with dozens of tomohawk missiles and then they moved into position last week. it had already been slated to relief the ussmahein. will they keep five or six in the mediterranean and at the ready now that there is no action that will occur before coming returns on september 9th. it is clear he leaned on the advice st -- of the children man of the joint chiefs. >> our military has positioned assets in the region. the chairman of the joint chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike when ever we choose. the chairman indicated to me that excuting this --
executing this mission is not time sensitive. it will be executed tomorrow, next week or one month from now. i am prepared to give that oord. that order. >> now it looks like the assad regime will have 10 extra days to prepare. there were scenes he was moving his munitions, the chemical weapons, the artillery musicians as well as the scud mess sells out of the bases. it will make the targeting for the pentagon more complex as one defense official put it to me. it is still manager. -- it is still manageable. >> is the president taking the advice of the chairman of the joint chiefs over secretary of state john kerry? >> it is safe to say that secretary kerry has been taking the lead in terms of action against syria for some time. there were heated discussions between chairman dempsey and the secretary of state particularly months ago when there was talk of using the military for regime changing.
he he was on board for a limited strike. the president is taking no one's council. it is his own decision. yesterday when you listened to secretary kerry it looked as though a strike was imminent. >> it matters to the credibility and the future interest of the united states of america and our allies. it matters because a lot of other countries whose policies challenge the international norms are watching. they are watching. they want to see whether the united states and our friends mean what we say. >> the pentagon always said it could carry out a strike with tomohawks. they never knew -- those i spoke to in the pentagon, they never knew what that would do as syria's civil war as a whole. >> thank you very much. tune into fox news sunday tomorrow. you will hear from secretary
of state john kerry. he will sit down with chris wallace. i bet he will ask what happened in the last 24 hours. they will talk about the next steps and the crisis in syria. check your local listings for air times. as the president says we should take limited action in syria. woo -- we will look at past strikes and some of their unintended consequences. >> in a world with many dangers, this men nighs -- men nighs, this must be confronted. after careful deliberation i have decided that the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets.
a washington insider predicts any action against syria will be limited and brief. but a review of similar military strikes by the u.s. in the past shows that they can have severe and unintended
consequences for americans. here is more from washington. >> as the obama administration weighs its response to syria's alleged use of chemical weapons, the state department acknowledged the risks. >> there are a variety of factors that go into that. determination, possible and intended consequences and possible affects in the region. all of that is part of the big picture we look at. >> one of the compelling examples the clinton's administration to the simultaneous truck bombings in kenya and tanzania that left 223 dead and more than tour,000 injured. 4,000 injured. this pharmaceutical factory believed at the time to produce chemical camps and training camp were bombed. the clinton missal strike strengthened the bond between al-qaeda and the taliban. paving the way for the cole bombing in 2000 and a decision
to bring terrorism to america's shores. >> you will use limited military power to send a signal. in this case it was that al-qaeda will not be allowed to threaten the united states. the immediate aftermath is that the organization is actually em em -- em boldened. >> the regan administration took a similar attack. two of the dead were u.s. servicemen and many of the 79 injured were permanently disabled. with the evidence pointing to muammar qaddafi, president reagan launched retaliatory strikes. >> today we have done what we had to do. if necessary we shall do it again. >> two years later a libyan agent bombed pan am over locker be, scotland. >> acting tactically rather than strategically almost certainly risks causing more harm than good. we see that in the current situation in syria.
>> while there is no question the military can pull off a strike, the satisfaction can be outweighed by the long-term consequences and the likelihood of retaliation against u.s. interests. in washington, fox news. >> katherine, thanks. fast-moving developments in the crisis on syria as american armed forces stand ready to attack. the latest diplomatic 1k3 military moves coming up exin. coming up next.
so much happening in the crisis in syria. let's bring in chuck nash, retired navy captain 1k3 military analyst for some closing thoughts. captain, a president or congress, who ever decides to
take action if they take action, has to be mindful of the consequences. you heard john kerry say yesterday, what are the consequences of not acting. what are the consequences of acting here? i mean, there could be retaliation. not just syria against american interests and israel, but hezbollah and iran as well. >> it is like in football when you throw a pass. three things can happen and two are bad. the unintended consequences of taking action in this hornet's nest is immeasurable. we will have to rack and stack the potentials and plan for those and anticipate those and for once get ahead of national security issues in assisted of reacting to them. one thing to keep in mind, the president said in the rose garden this afternoon, a lot of use of the vertical pronoun, i. i believe, i believe, i -- he is all about the -- he
believes this is the right thing to do, to take that action as commander-in-chief. if he does go to the congress like he says he is going to do and they vote no, that further complicates the issue and we will all be looking at videotape of then senator biden threatening to impeach then president george bush if he did not get congressional approval before going into iraq. this is becoming a cauldron of uncertainty. it is not good for the region -- >> president clinton lost some missiles in afghanistan. a lot has been written about how that in the end lead to 9/11. you never know about the unintended consequences here, do you? >> no, you don't. president clinton lobbed some missiles into southern iraq and at that point, a lot of
people, a lot of our enemies took the notion that we were a paper tiger, that we were not willing to follow through with the actions and that we wanted to just do something. now is not the time to just do something. we ought to have a plan and now that the president has backed up , it is time to all come together and figure out what is it we really want to do that is in the national security interestses of the united states of america and then do it. >> i wanted to -- what greg just mentioned leads into my question. this is all coming down on the anniversary of 9/11. if the house votes what is the chance we would instigate other groups, hezbollah, hamas and to %ttack other targets in the region jie. -- region?
>> that is the bigger of the unintended consequences. that is one that is not attributable to it. that is what happens if now that all of this rhetoric with the secretary of state, teeing it all up and then all of a sudden he goes under the bus today. who is going to believe us? what strength are our enemies going to take if we now do nothing? that is not definable per say. if we launched missiles and then saw a reaction we can say, yeah, that's because of thisment we will never know the -- that's because of this. we will never know the backlash from nonaction. >> captain chuck nash, as always, thank you so much. so the historians will decide whether this is a strong or weak president and whether he miss spoke a year ago when he drew a red line.
we'll have to wait and see. that does it for us. we will see you back here tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. eastern time. fox news watch is up next. >> we hope everyone has a great evening. john kerry will be up as well on fox news sunday tomorrow. >> bye-bye.
>> because they can march america changed. because they marched the civil rights law was passed. because they marched a voting rights bough was signed. >> it marks a milestone as civil rights leaders remember the march on washington. a former disney darling turns heads with a bizarre performance. and another controversey over gender and name as the media struggles with how to refer to bradley manning. covering the coverage next on the final edition of fox news
watch. on the panel this week, judy miller. syndicated columnist cal thomas. joe consha, ellen ratner, radio talk news and fox news contributor richard granel. i'm john scott. fox news watch is on right now. >> the president has moved the nation one step closer to military action against syria. >> the pentagon is awaiting the president's order to retaliate against the syrian dictatorship. >> the u.n has lost a key ally. >> top administration officials are briefing congression alleyeders this evening on their case for launching an attack against syria. >> cufnlg of the lead up to -- coverage of the lead up of what is known as military action in syria dominated the news cycle.
some suggest that the president is being pushed into military action by the media. what do you think? >> i think the president is being pushed into action by his campaign promise nine weeks before his re-election. he ignored the issue for so long and then drew a red line and now put himself into a corner. the media this week tried to make comparisons to iraq and say basically this is not iraq. what the new york times and new york magazine and "time" magazine failed to do was to really tell us this is not iraq. we don't have a u.n resolution. we don't have congressional approval. now we are finding out the president wants to go to war with basically no allies. we had 40 plus allies in the last iraq war. this president has not been able to get the british. >> that is true. the british said no. had a column from rush limbaugh that the
media are trying to protect the president from his own red line. >> absolutely. it is funny because last time we heard about with iraq that george bush was going alone. but he had britain and he had the 40 allies. that's the funny part about this. if you want a micro-cosim after the president backed away from the red line declaration, let me tell you what ed schulz said on his show on thursday. "we have to be fair about this" he said. "we have a history of presidents miss speaking. we need to give him some room here." would schulz tell president bush you only miss spoke. it is like in "a few good men." did you order the code red? yes but i miss spoke. the fact he said he miss spoke is the height of unintentional comedy. >> this president was in large part elected because of his opposition to the iraq war. he called it the dumb
wariments how can he now look at syria and say we deserve to launch an attack? >> he is portraying this as intervention that will be as josh ernest said very discrete , very limited, which automatically raises the question, why do it at all if you are not going to affect the outcome you wish to achieve which is getting rid of assad which the president said was his goal. and that is the contridiction that many analysts in the media have focused on. >> abc news had a piece suggesting that the president didn't really draw that red line or that it is a little more pink than red. >> and abc did that. however, when you really read through abc's quote of the president's quote, my reaction is if it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, then it quacks like a duck and it is a duck. i have to tell you there is nothing that abc quoted that doesn't make me think he didn't say red line.
>> are the media supportive? they own this guy. they own president obama. they pretty much owned hillary clinton's statement in the run up to the election. who is going to take threat:00 a.m. phone call? hillary clinton said he didn't have the experience to be president. he didn't have a foreign policy view. she was right. he was a great community organizer, but he has been terrible on foreign policy. none of the editorials i have read and none of the reporting in the major media or the minor media have stated what the foreign policy is with the russians and with the k450eu niece and with -- with the chinese and other than pressuring israel, i don't know. neither do any of the media people. >> i think on friday secretary kerry's speech went a long way to answering that question. he said it is not as much as what is going on in syria. yes, people have been killed, 100,000. but the way they are being killed and more importantly it is who we are.
will we react? >> oh please. 5 million people have been killed in the congo since world war ii and we haven't done squat. >> it is not a weapons of mass destruction. >> oh that is different? >> samantha power h, you know the u.n ambassador, is the author of this doctrine, the humanitarian intervention called responsibility to protect and that is what was invoked on friday. >> judy, let's talk about the u.n's responsibility to protect. what is bigger than that is the jaw geneva convention. will they allow 100 people to -- 100,000 people to die under hillary clinton as secretary of state. john kerry has only been secretary of state a few months. they consistently ignored the geneva convention.
>> you bring up a great point. hillary clinton is a slam dunking as far as being the democratic nominee. as far as being the next president. will this go on her resume? this is something that happened throughout her secretary of state. will the media call out hillary clinton as -- out hillary clinton will this be one of the failures? >> all of the polling of the american people say they are loathed to get involved in this syrian situation. should the media be paying more attention to that? >> the media has i think paid attention. what cal is talking about in terms of congo and in terms of south sudan, these are all other areas we have not paid attention to. i would like the media to talk about that as well. >> roiters ipsos poll and 9%
of those polled favor the action in syria. that's worse than any other foreign military engagement i can remember. >> what about the image of the gas attack itself? the media are not running the worst of that because there is horrific images. >> to the extent it has been that's what it pushing the debate rather than the talking heads in washington and the people writing for and against. what is promoting it are the pictures of the dead children, the 400 of them. >> it is like vietnam. >> that's not true. we have been seeing dead people for four years. that's not what is defining this debate. >> not in these numbers. >> it is a campaign promise. it is a campaign promise that is defining the debate. we watched people die for four years. what difference does it make if they were dead because they were shot in the back or gas? >> you sound like hillary clinton, what difference does it make? >> the point is it is not
moving people because we have been seeing dead people for four years. we have been seeing it for four years. >> we are going to have to leave the discussion there i'm sorry to say. we will take a break. first, media cufnlg of this week -- coverage of this week's march on washington. >> the civil rights movement reaches a historic milestone as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the march on sh what wash. and media crit tishes go after president obama for avoiding talking about race relations. did he win them off? find out next on news watch.
and so as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who march 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires. it was whether this country would admit all people willing to work hard regardless of rank into the middle class life. >> president obama on wednesday marking the 50th anniversary of dr. martin luther king's "i have a dream" speech. the president tip towed into -- tip towed -- tip-poed into that. >> he jumped into the deepened of the pool. joy did the media take note? >> this is not nostalgia time. all we needed was peter, paul
and mary with the wind blowing and it would be complete. the real racists were in the democratic party. george wallace stood on the schoolhouse door two georgia senators who were segregationists. they had to twist arms from the democrats to get these voting rights and equal housing laws passed. the media ignored that. they allowed the democrats to paint republicans -- as racist. >> you know what, i think the mainstream media did ignore things like some of the republicans. there weren't republicans up there. actually the washington small media, hill, news and politico -- actually politico quoted taylor branch and the hill quoted mr. herman cane who had run for president. those guys did not ignore the other side. the mainstream media did. >> i think it was striking and several commentators pointed it out that there were no
black republicans. how could you have such a one-sided event at such an incredible moment which should have been a unifying moment for the country? i think it was a miss for the organizers. >> it leads to the charge that if you are a black democrat, you are part of the party. if you are a black conservative, you are not. >> and what we saw this year was the use of a horrible term , uncle tom. we hear that a lot more. if somehow you speak out against black on black crime you are considered a traitor. the people that did that primarily were from the other side of the aisle. let me point out something here and i did a story on this recently. there are 40 murders a day in the u.s. about 280 a week. what we are see frght media more, and on both sides, we are trying to find racial motive within every kind of murder as long as it is white on black or black on white. george zimmerman, they made that into a white on black crime even though zimmerman was termed as a white hispanic
whatever that may be. fast-forward to chris lane and it is the kid from oklahoma, the college student who was shot in the back and police say by a black suspect, the world war ii veteran in washington. he was beaten by supposedly two black men. you have a scorecard coming out and what they are trying to do is trayvon martin in reverse. see, this happens the other way. we are attaching race as a motive to any white on black crime or black on white crime. it could have just been a cream that happened between two people. somebody murdered somebody indiscrime nantly without race being involved and i see that road and it is dangerous. >> did the media pay enough attention to the progress in the last 50 years? >> no, they haven't. that's one of the big problems. i have written about this over and over again. instead of focusing on successful african-americans in a two-parent family with the kids doing okay, we all know the principals -- the president is speaking like nothing has happened in the
last 50 years. many, many african-americans have moved into the middle class he should often talks about. >> we may have heard two different speeches. >> he is a perfect example. >> we may have heard two different speeches. i heard the progress he talked about. he talked about the marching and fathers who were taking care of their kids, they are marching too. >> how about millionaires and billionaires slapping them around a bit too. he mentioned them. >> the point is he did talk about progress and he did use a yardstick. >> it was a big missed opportunity. here we have the first black president and he is in his second term. he could have put politics aside and really taken this opportunity to celebrate dr. king and not talk about republicans and democrats or blacks and whites, but to celebrate the 50th anniversary of dr. king's amazing speech. it wasn't done. the media missed it. there is no criticism for missing this opportunity. more news watch ahead including media reaction to
that raunchy performance from miley cyrus. >> former disney darling miley cyrus steals the spotlight at the mtv video music awards and leaving the media in shock and sparking a heated debate. should the press be shaming her or blaming themselves for sining a controversy.i'm the answer is next on news watch.
the most overhyped story this week was miley cyrus' raunchy on stage performance at the video music awards. we are not going to show you that tape because that happened far too much. the media criticized her, but then played the tape over and over and over. it was on-line. it was everywhere. it was inescapable.
i am proud to say, judy, i came into our monday morning meeting not knowing what everybody was talking about because i didn't see the show and was happy to have missed it. is this the case of the media giving people what they want? we had syria this week. we had the fort hood trial decision and most -- many media outlets spent their time replaying miley cyrus. >> not only replaying the tape they knew everyone but you had watched, john, but also condemning it. it was on mass. it was wonderful to see the media come together on something so important as this young woman who had the bad taste to do that dance. even bill maher who is a tolerant fellow who said -- he tweeted i haven't been in a trip club in a longtime, but it is good to see they haven't changed. >> my favorite line in the whole thing, the inventor of the foam finger that previously i had only seen at
sports contests, you know, we're number one? the inventor of the foam finger thought it was demeaning to his invention. >> you have to wonder because she was and maybe still is something of a heroine to young women. >> i liked her better when she was working with disney. >> i did too. she was cute once upon a time. >> instead of supply and demand, demand and supply. this is what the american public wants, believe it or not. this show had 60% higher ratings that the show the year before it. here is the bottom line. on the mtv video music awards it is expecting the unexpected. and out -- outdoing what is the craziest act ever. if you remember 1984, madonna "like a virgin" and she was rolling around the stage in a white wedding dress and that was supposed to be the end of civilization. 20 years ago and miley cyrus is up there and gives birth or
whatever on stage because it is the next level. >> they will have a goat on the stage next time. >> it is not even one upman ship. it is one downman ship. >> now to the incarcerated soldier convicted of espionage and sent to a military prison. he announced he wants to be referred to as she and will call himself chelsea manning. the media has been talking about how to refer to manning. they are agreeing to call manning she. but he is not a she. should they? rick, let's start with you. >> the leaks were done by bradley manning. the conviction was done on bradley manning. it looks like the punishment is going to be for chelsea manning. in my book if somebody wants to be called a woman because
they are in transition you have every expectation to say let's call them a woman. but bradley manning is still a man at this point. he has only voiced his decision he wants to become a woman. i think in time you can start calling he she. but right now it is bradley manning a he and he leaked intelligence and that's the news value. >> listen, the american psychiatric association, they talk about it as gender disfor yaw. i think we should go with what manning wants and it should be chelsea manning. >> if i were to describe myself as a tree, would barbara walters ask me what kind i would want to be? >> i would. >> he does not want to be a she in a federal prison. you mentioned the study and that is one way to put it. you are 13 times more likely to be sexually abused in prison. you may want to leave the chelsea side -- the bottom line is, he is doing 35 years
for leaking classified information. >> the less we hear about him or her the better in my book. up next, it is the end of an era for fox news watch.
nearly six years ago i was invited to take this seat at moderator of fox news watch. the premise is simple, to examine the big events that drew big coverage and those that didn't in the week just past and help viewers understand the mind set and political world views of individual journalists and the organizations for which they work and how they often color the coverage they present. howard will take it from here with the new program "media buzz." look for it next sunday at 11:00 a.m. eastern. it has been my great pleasure and privilege to work with our rotating panel of media experts. a special shoutout to jim pinkerton who couldn't be here. he has helped me avoid and rectify plenty of mistakes my time in this seat and i am
deeply grateful. for the last time on this final news watch, a big thank you to our staff and crew along with judy miller and cal thomas and ellen ratner and rick grenell. thanks for making news watch part of your weekend. this is a fox news alert. i'm brett bier in washington. in an announcement that stunned his own cabinet and leaders around the world, president obama says he has the authority to launch a military strike against syria. and that he has decided it is the right thing to do. he will not pull the trigger until congress has its say. he held out the option he could proceed without approving from u.s. lawmakers and that that might happen as long as a month from now. this hour, what else the president said, what it means and how it is being received in washington and by our allies and adversaries around the world. we have expanded fox team coverage. jennifer griffin is at the
pentagon andly land -- 1k3* leland is in our newsroom. we begin with chief white house cory spawn denned ed henry. a big change from where things were headed hours earlier. >> a stunning reversal and top aids say they are making the call on his own. a risky move because it could fail in congress and could give assad more time to gas more people. that's why the change of heart did not sit well with everyone on the president's team. >> president obama made two dramatic decisions on friday. first earlier in the day when aides say they should move forward with military action to respond to the chemical weapons attack in syria. later the president decided to throw his staff a curve ball and over road his dash o vie rode his team. >> that's why i made a second decision. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the
american people in congress. >> the president went for a walk on the south lawn with the chief of staff and without his war cabinet there like john kerry and chuck hagel the president first floated the idea he should go to both chambers of congress even though they do not return until september 9th. senior officials acknowledge there was division within the add administration and then placed calls to kerry, hagel and biden to inform them of their decision. kerry had gone out on a limb and calling for quick action against the syrian president al-assad. the senior officials insist kerry and the whole team came together and supported the plan in a meeting on saturday morning. they want congressional buy in. >> i know the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be more effective. >> the president called all four of the top congression alleyeders to tell them of the move and they were noncommittal on the approval.
mitch mcconnell saying the president's roll is always strengthened when he enjoys the express support. they do not want more intervention and syria -- in private they know there is a risk and the votes may fail. the president hinted he could take action anyway. >> we must not turn a blind eye for what happened in damascus. this men nighs h -- menace must beacon fronted. >> they say it is longer until the menace is confronted. >> this is stunning. i have been trying to fill in the blank. barack obama is the weakest president since. >> the image of delay only reinforced by the president and vice president just moments after leaving the rose garden and heading out for a golf match together. aides here i am told are currently drafting the language of the congressional authorization. i am told it will be for the use of military force and not a formal declaration of war.
brett? >> ed henry live on the north lawn. thank you. much of the international community has reservations about any u.s. military move. syria insists the information is fabricated. russian president putin says it is utter nonsense and an attack would be a gross violation of international law. james rosen has new information about the terms of the president's consultation with congress. good evening. >> brett, good evening. a senior official told me the president's decision to use force in syria is in no jeopardy of being overturned. it is the vote he asked for and the strikes will go forward even if congress rejects the use of force. they said that was the point of the is speech containing the language it did where president obama said he would proceed without authorization. other senior officials were
not confirming that, only telling reporters that the door is being kept open for that. >> secretary kerry has been able to call him after president obama had spoken to reassure the leader that the u.s. remains committed to holding the assad regime for the chemical weapons attack. it urges the international community to undertake a comprehensive and robust military intervention that we reduce the capacity of the syrian regime to inflict suffering on its people and send a message that the use of chemicals weapons will not be tolerated. president obama said he has not gefn up these view that it can be accomplished. >> i am we can hold the regime responsible and de to ter this -- to deter this behavior and privately we heard many
expressions of support. i ask those who care to stand publicly behind our action. >> meantime the chemical weapons inspection team arrived. their final report is expected to take weeks to compile. today a u.n official denied the departure was choreographed to coincide with the u.s. military planning. >> frankly it is grotesque and it is an affront to the more than 1,000 u.n staff who are on the ground in syria delivering humanitarian aide and will continue to deliver critical aide. >> late tonight the obama administration put out a statement saying the former colonial power and european nation that expressed willingness to join in and told president obama in a telephone call today and that president obama agreed that the international community, quote, must deliver a resolute
message to the assad regime and they will be held accountable by the world, unquote. >> james rosen is live, thank you. so congress is now a major part of the equation of the but it appears we will have to wait more than a week for them to come back from vacation. as mike emmanuel tells us from capitol hill, that is now moving to be a bone of con 10ion. >> after bipartisan house members sent a letter to president obama asking them to call them back for an emergency session and complaints of a lack of specifics from administration congress canada bait military action in syria. and some like texas republican ?ot ted cruise says it is about time and the president must make his case. >> i am troubled by the justifications the obama administration has put forth. in my view the force is justified only to protect the vital national security
interest of the united states. bill nelson supports the president, but, quote, as far as i'm concerned we should strike in syria today. peter king blasted the idea for him to act. he is under minding the future presidents. the president does not need congress to authorize a strike on syria. the chair of the house subcommittee says the president's red line rhetoric means the u.s. must launch strikes. >> we set the standard now that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable so you have to act when somebody uses them. >> they reiterated their call for a coalition saying, quote, it is important the president is speaking support and participation from other countries including arab countries. john mccain and lyndsay graham say they can in good conscience support military
strikes that are not part of a broader strategy leading to the removal from power. lass night mccain laid out how the u.s. could hammer syria without u.s. boots on the ground. >> the six airfields and six runways and i prevent him from using his air power. i would get the weapon tots people who are fighting and dying as we speak. >> mike turner says he is a no vote on military action until mr. obama removes the sequestration from the military. that illustrates what a difficult september it is turning out for on capitol hill. with the government and the debt ceiling and addressing laws already on the agenda. >> thanks. a special saturday edition of special report continues in a moment. up next, live to the middle east for reaction to president obama's announcement.
of course, any u.s. action in the middle east must be viewed through the prism of our relationship with israel. the military there says it deployed the iron dome missal battery. leland is live in the middle east newsroom in jerusalem. hello, leland. >> hi, brett, good evening. stunned would be putting the israeli reaction lightly to president obama's announcement. there was a feeling here and around the region that syria, iran and the united states were eye to eye. president obama blinked. with threats of regional war looming syrian state tv and eve israeli television channel took president obama's speech live. at the end israeli commentators seemed almost speechless. it is a matter of confidence,
this israeli remarked and he seems incapable of taking action. a september meant by the syrians who declared victory. "the americans have lost the battle even before it started" said the deputy prime minister. syrian state tv broadcast damascus residents were celebrating in the streets. "if you are looking for afraid people" said this woman" go to israel" where they are looking for shelters and gas masks. easy israeli -- israelis lined up for hours to get gas masks because syria promised to strike tel aviv if attacked. "i think obama has no desire to act" this analyst said on israeli tv declaring the crisis over before the conversation turn -- turned to the nuclear program. president obama in affect laid down a red line on as well. the president's lack of action
on syria's em women cal -- on syria's chemical weapons made it seem what do they mean. the american administration says the prime minister has made a joke of itself. one israeli analyst finished the conversation saying if president obama would like to be taken sear -- seriously in the middle east, perhaps while they #r debating he should ask for authorization to attack iran if necessary. he was only half joking. back to you. >> live in the middle east newsroom. thank you. the u.s. military has five destroyers in the immediate mediterranean sea with cruise missals and ready for action. now they will have to wait several days before engaging. jennifer griffin that has that part of the story. >> as the president stepped back from the brink he quoted
gin martin dempsey who has been the most reluctant member of the national security team to overage u.s. military involvement in syria. >> our military has assets in the region and the chairman of the joint chiefs prepared me we are ready to strike when ever we choose. the chairman said the capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. it will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. and i am prepared to give that order. >> now the assad raw joel regime knows it is time to prepare. they were removing ar maments 1k3* hiding targets. the artillery it uses as chemical weapons. the delay adds to the complexity of the mission, but the delay is still manageable. what a difference a day makes. secretary of state john kerry
sounding presidential as he made the case for action. >> that is what we know. that is what the leaders of congress now know and that's what the american people need to know. and that is at the core of the decisions that must now be made for the security of our country and the promise of a planet where the most tan muss weapons must never again be used against the world's most vulnerable people. >> a degree of relief given few understood the mission firing tomahawks and indecision come frght white house. >> i think all of the contacts in the pentagon to include those in the joint chief of staff are breathing a huge sigh of relief. they are incredited you -- incredulous about the decision making process, but they are relieved we backed off and we
are taking a strategic rather than a tactile look. >> in the wake of the president's decision to wait, they are drafting a letter to general martin dempsey which will address the u.s. concern about who the opposition is and that they are on the side of democracy. brett? >> jennifer griffin live at the pentagon. thank you. still ahead, the fox all stars dissect today's developments. first, two experts on syria about the decision to attack, but to wait for congressional approval and what message that is sending on the grounds.
let's go more in depth into the syria situation. back with us tonight is elizabeth, the senior research
analyst at the institute of the study of war where she focuses on syrian politics and security and is in contact with the syrian rebels. joining us from miami is fox middle east and terrorism analyst ferris. i know you are headed back to syria this week. you had a conversation today with the head of the rebels by skype. what can you tell us? >> i think there is a lot of disappointment. they feel the u.s. specifically, but the international community as a whole has let them down in terms of what they expected and in terms of standing by what they believe is right in terms of stoping a brutal dictator who is using not only chemical weapons, but a wide range of weapons against its own people. >> there is a sense about the political situation surrounding all of this with the british parliament voting against it and now the president turning to congress. >> how is that being interpreted on the ground by
the rebels? >> unfortunately for many people, they see this as a larger conspiracy. they believe the u.s. has chosen to support assad and his allies and are no longer standing with the syrian people. in many ways these conspiracy theorists that have been floating for quite some time now and are being seen as actual liesed. >> the general will draft a letter to the chairman of the joint chiefs? jennifer griffin reported that. what is that all about? >> i think the council and the national coalition headed by president jarba are looking to address the u.s. government head on. he wants to take it as military commander to military commander and explain the dynamics that could help facilitate ox in the future. action in the future. >> looking at the middle east and the reaction to this, how do you think it will play out. what do you think president
al-assad takes from this? >> all right the -- already the syrian regime, the iranian regime and leadership from hezbollah and part of the poll poll -- politicians in iraq are on notice there will be a strike. for them they are preparing for war either now or later. at the same time they have a feeling that president obama wants more support. when he saw it happen in london, the legislative branch he wants to make sure the congress is behind him. that has been perceived as a sign of weakness seen by them of course. civil society forces in syria other than the opposition and people struggling democratically are very nef vus. they feel that the discussion will go to congress and they have noted that many lawmakers who are against any sort of intervention, this could actually backfire. there will be no u.s. intervention. so you have the two reactions come frght region. >> to hear secretary kerry yesterday, he said inaction
would send a message to iran and other actors throughout the middle east. do you agree with that? >> i do agree. both the secretary and the president developed a good step, but there is a risk that it could go in different directions. it is in a good direction or a bad direction. the president pushed back the discussion to congress and he would like congress to guarantee that they will support this specific step. there is a risk. if he only gets a green light for this step he will not get a green light for the wider set. hans the nervousness in syria. >> and there is nervousness about getting involved in another war. with the potential to explode to something bigger. do the rebels and i know there are various groups, but the free syrian army and others, do they understand that? , the predicament about the
american people not supporting it according to polls, and how much does time matter for them right now? >> right now they are in a critical condition. they were expecting a u.s. airstrike. they planned their operations along the lines of that expected strike. right now you can see them scrambling to readjust and we set their operations and campaign priorities. i think there is some sense that the american public is war wary and doesn't want to get involved in another middle eastern conflict. they don't want to see the u.s. rush into intervention. at the same time, they really feel like the american people should be standing up for them right now. they are standing up for the same principals and values they believe the american people are standing up for. >> do you feel that this time is potentially dangerous for the rebels in that president assad while we talked last time you said he is not winning, but could this turn
the tide, this delay or whatever it is? >> i think we are seeing an increase in government actions. immediately after president obama's speech which was aired in syria on state tv with full translation there was an up tick in emerging counterfeit against these regions. they were planning on attack and planned on that. in someways they were put on the back foot. >> final word here, if the big picture if congress comes back and says no, we have reported tonight that the president could still launch an attack, however limited in spoke. he has talked about the limited in spoke times many times. the message in the middle east and what do you think the end result is. >> you are right. they are only prepared for the limited strike. they do not want to engage in a full-fledged war in syria
but it has to lead -- it is a clash with iran, hezbollah and others. let me say something about the opposition that is crucial. they are not known by our public. when we debate in congress we don't know who are these people 1234 they need to do a better job and reaching out to the american public. >> thank you very much. good luck on your trip to syria and keep keep us in the loop. up next, keeping up, the homeland secure in troubled times. how officials here gored against retaliations when the u.s. takes whatever military action may be coming.
welcome back to our special edition of "special report." the big headline is president obama has made up his mind that hitting syria is the best thing to do in the wake of chemical weapons use, but he will let congress have its say first. >> having made my decision as commander-in-chief based on what i am convinced is our national security interests. i am also mindful i am the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. i long believed our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. and that's why i have made a second decision. i will seek authorization for
the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress. >> our chief washington correspondent james rosen says the president will pull the trigger even if congress does not give him formal authorization. other senior administration officials are not going that far. instead they said that is an option and the president has the authority. the president made the announcement this afternoon citing the recent chemical weapons attack that left more than a thousand dead in and around damascus as he said a men nighs the world can -- a menace the world cannot ignore. every time the u.s. makes a military move precautions are taken at home. in case reaction becomes stronger than just anti-war protests. retaliation, violent retaliation, is always a concern. chief intelligence correspondent katherine herrage tells us how people are gearing up.
>> a bulletin was sent out earlier this week to alert federal, state and local law enforcement about the possible blow back from a limited strike in syria. and an administration official says homeland securities is following the situation and actively collaborates and shares the information in the face of constantly evolving threats. if there is a response from assad, hezbollah and the shiite mission backed by day ron it will be an 8 symetric response that does not involve directly confronting the u.s. >> you can imagine possible threats against airliners and possible threats against anything what hezbollah did in bulgaria. >> that's a reference to the suicide attack last summer that killed six and injured 32. mi pointed this week's attack on the new york times website by a group sympathetic to the syrian regime as a likely probing
incident designed to test the system. >> what you have seen here that is new is an increase in the cyberattack. you have the uh sod -- the uh sod organization launch against multiple news organizations. >> with the conflict escalating and seen as a global jihad for islamists, the director explained in a recent interview the focus on westerners, specifically american passport holders who are joining the fight and could launch terrorist attacks on u.s. soil. >> one of the concerns we all have at this juncture of persons traveling to syria and gaining expertise and -- >> bringing it back. >> bringing it back to this country and bringing it back to europe. >> have you seen documented cases of americans going to syria and then coming back? >> at least one indictment directly in my mind, but others we have not yet indicted who may face charges
down the road. >> law enforcement officials are pushing back against a report that they are interviewing syrians living in the u.s., but not denying that pro active steps that they are drawn by choice into the conflict. >> thank you. president obama says he is ready to do battle in syria. first, congress will do battle over the decision. a debate and a vote. the fox all stars join me to talk about it all after a quick break.
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i decided the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. it will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. and i am prepared to give that order. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress.
while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization i know the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be more effective. >> a stunning announcement in the rose garden. the president saying it is the right move to strike syria and that he wants to get congress' authorization before doing so. senior administration officials say he made that decision completely turning around the recommendations and the policy that was in place last night. the white house chief of staff, apparently he walked for about 45 minutes and came to this conclusion. this of course after john kerry presented a case yesterday. >> and it matters deeply to the credibility in the interest of the united states of america and our allies.
history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator's wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decent see. and that is at the core at the decisions that must now be made for the security of our country and for the promise of a planet where the world's most heinous weapons must never again be used against the world's most vulnerable people. >> the president met with his national security team in the situation room. officials are telling us that there was division within the administration. it was about his decision. you can kind of read some of that on some of those faces in that room. with that let's bring in our panel. the senior writer for the
weekly standard. kharles es ? >> this is astonishing. we heard from the secretary of state as you heard in the clips is the children of syria, innocents around the world and the security of the united states, decent see and an international norm in the use of weapons of mass destruction, all of that is at stake. we have to act or history will judge us harshly. and then you have a president who comes out the next day and says, well, i decided i will do. it but i will wait until congress ends vacation and the barbecues on monday. we will give it a week or even if it is a month, who knows? we will have a debate and then i will make the case. then he goes off and plays golf. on tuesday he goes to sweden and the g-20 in russia. this is a declaration of unseriesness. the region is looking at him. he is a man who stood up and said a red line six months ago.
>> a year ago the first one. >> and then six months ago and he ignores it. they leak all of the information about the great strike of -- america will make and then he goes off and plays golf. you show the foreign secretary of syria and the deputy who said obama is a joke. i think that's how it is being read by the enemies of the u.s. and unfortunately by the friends whose lives hinge on america's word and now see a president riddled with indecision. what is obviously retreat. >> one it is obviously his decision very popular with the american people who are against any military action. and popular with the number of people in congress who have been calling for authorization. it doesn't appear popular with the national security team. >> no, and from what i understand it is not popular with secretary of state kerry.
there is some concern at the pentagon. they believe they can do this and it will have effect. what they want it to be is more specific as to what the goals are so they can be judged to have achieved the goals. overall i want to come back to your first point and i thought charles made the point for coming to support this once the vote comes. that's not clear that that vote is there right now to support him. the argument has been made on a personal level going into this week i was not supportive of this intervention along with 80% of americans and republicans and democrats who say we were in wars and we didn't know what we were doing. it wouldn't be clear in syria whose side we would be on and if uh sod was holding back people -- if assad was holding back people who may one day bite us, al-qaeda. but the secretary of state made a strong case leading up to this moment which is why i feel so empty that they didn't
act. if you look out at the broader picture, the fact that the american people have questions about intervention and the fact that the congress has been clear that we want to say -- i don't think this will look bad for history. >> what about the reporting of james rosen and a senior state department official saying the decision has been made. there will be military action no matter what congress does. >> i am deeply skeptical of that. >> to a certain extent we are overcome plaw indicating this. -- overcome plaw indicating this. it explains everything we have seen over the past two years and from everything we have seen in the past week. look back at these critical junctures in the u.s. action in syria and the president has shown his hand. eastbound remember when there was a -- remember when there was a robust discussion when there was the free syrian army and it is not complicated by the contributions of
jihadists. the president overruled hillary clinton and petraeus and martin dempsey in terms of arming the rebels at that point. as charles points out, the red line had been breached and the president promised serious consequences and then with a shrug of the shoulders the united states did nothing. now you have consensus on his national security team that the united states needs to strike for the reasons that secretary kerry laid out in a quite compelling way yesterday. the president of the united states once again shrugs his shoulders and throws up an obstacle in his own way. i think the bottom line is whether you agree with intervention or not and agree that the president of the united states should take this to congress or not, the incompetence on display over the past week has been absolutely breathtaking. >> members of congress weigh in on all sides after a quick break.
the constitution gives congress the power to declare war. and i am very, very glad that the president listened to bipartisan calls to come before congress and come before the american people and make the case. not based on international norms. not base and international law, but based on the only proper criteria for potential military action chb is the vital national security interests of the united states of america. congress will weigh in. senator ted cruz with his thoughts. there are different views from capitol hill. they're obviously not here. out on vacation, but congressman peter king of new york, republican, says this. president obama is abdicating
his responsibility at commander-in-chief. the president does not need congre congress' approval to authorize a strike on syria. the president doesn't need 535 members of congress to enforce his own red line. on the democratic side, elliott engel, similar statement. laid out a strong and convincing case to the american people for action in syria, however i understand his desire to seek explicit authorization to do so from congress. i call on the speaker to immediately recall the house back from its august recess and debate this critical issue as soon as possible. >> i don't understand why you wouldn't say, gentlemen, or ladies and gentlemen, time to come home and let's do business. >> that's what i think. that's where cruz missed the
point. yes, it's good that congress is being brought in. all of last week i was advocating he should have congress, but i never matched he would announce and say, yeah, but we'll do it, it could be a month. look what happened in britain. cameron recalled the parliament. we have air force. our air force has airplanes. you can have everybody in congress in their seats tomorrow. have a debate, and have a decision in a day or two. a war is going on. the combatants in a war are not going to wait and hold that their arms already, the syrian military shelling in damascus. the idea of the united states dalying along in mow coscow @ - a useless g-20, he shouldn't have had a red line, or made the speech or leaked all of the
details of this account. he shouldn't have ships in the mediterranean. all of this, and then, well, we're going to have a debate and we'll see you later. in the region this is astonishing and demoralizing to anybody who's on the american side. >> but i think senator cruz spoke about vital american interests that that's got to be the heart of the case. so he's got to lay out vital american interests, and make that case to the american people, and i think this is an opportunity to do so. i mean, when you think about it, truman went into korea without authorization. most of vietnam was done without any authorization. i think gulf of tonkin. but golf of tonkin resolution is actually written in the johnson white house and then sent to the white hou congress. george h.w. bush, george w. b h bush, in the case of rnlg george bush, directly attacked.
we didn't go and launch a counterattack. we waited and got authorization. >> the idea that the president would have us believe in this speech he is suddenly oh concso concerned with our constitution is preposterous, totally ridiculous on its face. this president spent the bert year of his last campaign on his ability and willingness to circumvent congress on everything. on virtually every substantive issue. the president has been out el itting people, i don't need to wait for congress. i can do it on my own. including recess appointment. he thinks he has the authority to determine when congress is and is not in recess and now is suddenly concerned about this? if he were so concerned about congressional authorization of military action, why didn't he seek it when he did something by most accounts much more extensive in libya. he didn't because he didn't think -- >> libya didn't threaten to explode into a world war iii. >> it still was a military
action. >> steve, one more run at this about the reporting. about even if congress votes no, thats it could move forward, there was a white house statement out today, the conversation between president obama and the french president in which they put out a statement saying they agreed the international community must deliver a resolute message to the assad regime, and it's unacceptable those who violate this international law will be held accountable. secretary kerry talking to rebels saying there will be action. so it is interesting. >> look, it's entirely possible the president will do something. i find it hard to believe the president who didn't make a strong case on behalf of what he called the good war, after he surged troops into afghanistan will defy the will of congress if they go against it and 85% of the american people. i find it unlikely. >> final thoughts from the panel when we come back. ♪
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it's been an interesting day. final thoughts now from the panel. steve? >> i think the big question is will the president of the united
states put political capital on the line to make an aggressive case for intervention in syria when everything we've seen thus far independents case he doesico be involved. >> he's put himself at great political risk, as we saw in britain, and i don't know that the american people disagree with the decision to delay. the question is whether or not the congress, and especially conservatives who told him not to act will move beyond anger at him. >> charles? >> ask for retreats, zigzags, hesitation and the lack of urgency i think in the region, the word of the united states is at its lowest since 1970. historic moment. panel, as always, thank you. and thank you for inviting us into your home tonight. please, keep it here on fox news channel fon continuing coverage of the crisis in syria and remember to tune in for a special fox news sunday tomorrow morning as chris wallace hosts the secretary of state john kerry. check your local listings on the
fox broadcast or watch fox news channel tomorrow at 2:00, 6:00 p.m. eastern time nap is it for this special report. for the first time president obama says he will seek authorization from congress. he says the u.s. should take military action against the assad regime inside war didn't torn syria for using chemical weapons on its citizens but according to the president he will wait for congress to vote on the issue. the news coming fast tonight from around the globe as the world watches and waits for a positive u.s. strike. prez obama making his case for action in a statement today in the rose garden saying the deaths of innocent civilians at the hands of their government should not go unpunished. >> here's my question for every member of congress and every member of the global community.